Chesterton Tribune

New columbarium delivered to the Chesterton Cemetery

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Better than 11 tons of granite were delivered to the Chesterton Cemetery on Friday, dropped lightly into place by a 30-ton crane.

It’s a new columbarium—a vault for the internment of ashes—and Chesterton Cemetery Association President Hugh Hopkins is very excited about the addition.

“With burial spaces becoming more sparse and people more conscious of the environment, cremations are becoming more common and now account for over 20 percent of burials,” Hopkins told the Chesterton Tribune.

The 22,500-pound octagonal columbarium—completely clad in granite, with black granite panels picked out by moonlight gray granite trim and accented with bronze rosette hangers—has 60 double niches in ranks of five, with potential space for 120 final resting places. Manufacturer: Granite Bronze, a division of the Cold Spring Memorial Group of Cold Spring, Minn.

The new columbarium is both handsome and dignified. It’s also needed, as the existing columbarium—a smaller one—is nearly full, with only a few niches left and none of those adjoining, Cemetery Office Manager Cheryl Bachman said.

When all is said and done—when the concrete work is completed, including the 40-inch deep foundation, and the site is landscaped—the investment will total around $30,000. That cost will be recouped through the sale of niches by the Chesterton Cemetery Association, which Hopkins notes is not—as some folks mistakenly think—a municipal body at all but comparable instead to a property owners association.

“It’s like buying a grave in the ground,” Hopkins said. “You buy a niche. A plaque will go on the outside. Families can choose the plaques, of course. Some are single niches. Some are double ones.”

The new columbarium is sited at the extreme southeastern corner of the cemetery, with a lovely view of the lake to the south. “We’ll do some landscaping, maybe put in some benches,” Cemetery Association Office Manager Cheryl Bachman said. “It’ll look beautiful by the lake. This is a perfect spot.”

“This is a big event for us,” Hopkins added. “More and more people are opting for columbarium burial. It’s more environmentally friendly and takes very little room.”




Posted 7/2/2012